Amber Gemstone & Information | Gemopedia by JTV | Gemopedia™

Amber

Amber is the ancient fossilized resin of trees that grew in forests millions of years ago. Over the eons, chemical and physical changes occurred, fossilizing the resin to produce what we know today as amber. Research indicates that amber ranges from about two million to 360 million years in age, although most gem quality amber is between 10 million and 50 million years old. Hardened resin that is significantly younger than amber, is known as copal. Although the age boundary that differentiates amber from copal is still debated, copal is considered to be less than 10 million years old, with a large proportion being significantly younger.

Colors

Light Yellow To Dark Brown, Orange, Red, White; Occasionally Greenish, Bluish Due To Fluorescence

  • Amber classification

    CommonName
    Amber
    Species
    NA
    Variety
    Colors
    Light Yellow To Dark Brown, Orange, Red, White; Occasionally Greenish, Bluish Due To Fluorescence
    AlternateNames
    Resinite, Ambrite
    GemstoneGroups
    KeySeparations
    Specific gravity is a key indicator, one which may be tested by placing the specimen in a saturated salt solution having a specific gravity of approximately 1.12-1.13, in which amber should float. Plastic imitations, in contrast, will typically be denser and thus sink in a salt solution. Other tests for amber (versus plastic) include a hot needle test (checking for distinctive odor), sectility (scraping with a knife to see if it chips or crumbles instead of curling).
    ClassificationComments
    Amber is essentially a fossilized plant resin, often with fascinating inclusions. The presence of, amounts, and kinds of trapped material, such as insects or air bubbles, can cause the specific gravity to vary. Copal is an immature(young) version of the same material.
  • Amber chemistry & crystallography

    ChemicalName
    succinic acid
    ChemicalFormula
    C12H2OO fossilized plant resins
    Synthesis
    CrystalSystem
    NA
    ChemistryClassification
    Organic
    Nature
    Natural
    Crystallinity
    Non-Crystalline
    ChemistryComments
  • Amber optical properties

    Transparency
    Transparent - Opaque
    Dispersion
    Strength: none
    OpticalComments
    RefractiveIndex
    1.54
    Tolerance:(+0.005/-).001)
    Birefringence
    0
    OpticCharacter
    NA
    OpticSign
    NA
    PolariscopeReaction
    Singly Refractive (SR) With ADR
    Fluorescence
    SWUV: Inert to moderate yellowish green to orange yellow, white to bluish white to blue
    LWUV: Inert to strong yellowish green to orange yellow, white to bluish white to blue
    CCFReaction
    Pleochroism
    None
  • Amber characteristic physical properties

    Hardness
    2.5
    CharacteristicComments
    Streak
    White
    SpecificGravity
    1-1.1 Range:0.02/-0.08 Typical:1.08
    Toughness
    Poor
    Inclusions
    Amber will show a "Sun spangle" effect due to the stone being heated in oil. Stones might also show gas bubbles and flow lines. Sometimes included with insects or other organic and inorganic materials. Stones that have been created by compressing smaller pieces of amber will sometimes show the boundary layers of the original material. Plastic imitations with inserted insects will have a boundary layer surrounding insect.
    Luster
    Waxy
    Stability
    Poor
    Fracture
    Conchoidal
    Cleavage
    None